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Cass – Just Cass.

My Journey With Mental Illness

A Work in Progress.

So, tonight I’m reflecting on where I am in my recovery.

The first thing that comes to mind, is that my face is mostly clear all the time now. I’ve reduced picking to a minimum, and this is a huge feat for me.

I still struggle with social anxiety, but I’m so infinitely much more comfortable in my own skin. I’m truly learning the meaning of self love – most days.

I definitely still tackle severe mood swings, but I find I have skills under my belt to help me through certain unjustified emotions.

I’m either working from home, doing my school program from home, and/or maintaining my home on a daily basis. I would say that to be able to juggle all of those things right now, is pretty impressive.

However.

Agoraphobia seems to be kicking my ass. I don’t want to leave my house and when I do I immediately regret it and want to go home. I can’t comfortably spend more than an hour out of my home.

It’s to the point of terror and break downs.

So while I’ve made some great strides in certain areas, I still struggle in some, even more so now than before. But it’s a work in progress; I’ll get there.

(Small) Parts in the Clouds

I’m getting to a point where I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this bout of depression, even if it is dim and flickering.

I have my bad days, my very very bad days, and then… for example the last two, I have good days.

I found out I am ineligible for funding for school until I self-fund one semester. Unfortunately, I am already out the money for the courses I registered for, so it will be this semester whether I like it or not, whether I can afford it or not.

So this week I will be starting two online courses – I’m optimistic and excited despite the blow to the bank.

I have been managing bad fibromyalgia pain, though it seems to be easing off the last couple days; maybe that’s why they’ve been good days.

I am juggling a lot of different mental strains. And up until now I wasn’t doing so well.

But I’m starting to manage. So here’s to me.

Keep on truckin’.

I’m Back.

I need to write. I need to get out of my head and on to the page, even if just for a little bit. So here’s an update:

I moved out! Did I tell y’all that?! I feel like an adult. Kind of. I’m getting a bunch of support from family and friends, but I’m feeling independent and it’s feeling healthy for me.

School semester was a washout – due to a plethora of factors ranging from raging agoraphobia to discrimination and downright stupidity. As a result, not only will I not be getting the credit for the courses, I will be receiving a failing grade; on my flawless transcript. This is a big blow to my self confidence but I refuse to be knocked down. I will work with what I have, so:

Funding approval pending (*crosses fingers*), I’m switching to a different college for online only instruction for my next courses, or until I feel able to attend classes in person. I’ve already been accepted to the program.

I’m back to waiting to hear on funding.

I HATE waiting.

I haven’t been as in touch with my skills as I’d like to be, so I’ve gone back to basics and did a DBT Goal setting page for the next month or so. I feel like I have a plan to tackle the anxiety I can feel inevitably building as the wait drags on.

We’ll see how it goes.

 

Lost.

I found out today that my doctor is retiring. 

She’s been my doctor all my life; liking her and knowing my family trusted her, it still took me almost 2 decades to start to feel comfortable talking to her.

Once I did, slowly, together we worked on helping me get to the place I’m at today, which is significantly better than where I was to begin with, and I contribute a lot of that progression to her guidance and care.

And now she’s just…leaving.

I feel overwhelmingly alone, lost, and scared.

I can rationalize and even be happy for her – I understand it’s part of life, but I’m struggling to wrap my mind around the idea of trying to trust another individual.

It feels like a big old roadblock right at the peak of my rebuilding. I’ve come so far and done so well, only to have a major support torn out from under me.

I realize that I have other supports – my loving family, caring boyfriend, and encouraging friends… but having a medical professional in my corner really helped, and I was just getting happy and comfortable with the idea of her being someone I could completely confide in.

The backup doctor she’s blanket-suggesting to her patients is useless to me.

I can’t help but feel somewhat abandoned, even though I know that’s not the case.

I don’t like feeling desperate.

Everything is Happening at Once and I’m Overwhelmed lalalala.

Guys. 

I’m doing better than I was.

I’m not in the same deep dark pit that I was in, I don’t think. 

At least not every day. So it’s improving.

I’ve got school going. 3 courses. The 2 online have started and are a week in – they look to be tedious but doable. It’s going to be a lot of work but they’re both classes I’m very interested in so it’ll hopefully hold my attention. 

The third class starts tomorrow on campus and I found out that it’s with an instructor that I’ve had prior to now, and I loved his teaching style and his charisma, so it makes me really excited for the course. So all systems are go with school.

Now, I’ve picked up a part time job doing outbound calls from home for a research firm. It’s 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, and I can split the shift if I want. So, it’s really convenient for me with all my struggles. Even still, it’s nearly impossible some days and takes a pep talk from the whole family and the boyfriend to get me logged on, and I have to drag myself through it. But I’m doing it for now. I’m hoping to get a doctors’ note and request the ability to break my shift up even more. If I could work on my own time with an assigned number of hours to get in, it’d be ideal. I have trouble sitting for long periods of time. I need to get up and walk away or I get agitated. So that’s a thing – I’m working. (What?)

DBT and CBT are going steady; while my commitment remains in tact, the dedication has been slacking; partly due to anxiety and avoidance, and partly due to lack of time. I need to really dedicate more time and effort to skills application and practice. But I want to comment that I’ve grown a lot in the way of avoidance. I’m making phone calls! Appointments!

I’m also attending physiotherapy 3 times a week. Twice I see a chiropractor, and once I get a massage. I got my first ‘adjustment’ recently – terrifying! But it seems to be helping. I want to reiterate, though: terrifying. Even after the first time. Letting someone ‘adjust’ you (also read: crack you all over) takes a lot of trust and is quite anxiety inducing.  

Aaaaand to mix it all up a little, we’re moving in the next couple months, which adds all kinds of stress and complications of its own, especially since we don’t know where we’re going yet.

I think anyone with the same amount of life events on their plate as me would be under stress. 

I have not yet buckled.

I think I’m doing this life-ing thing.

Kind of.

This school girl is DBTing it up

I’ve been struggling. Really, really struggling. To an extent that I can’t even express to those closest to me, or even to myself if I’m being completely honest. I’m scared and I’m in a really dark place, but I’m clinging with white knuckles to sanity and stability and normalcy and I’m just not letting go. 

Let’s not mention that it’s tense enough around the home without my extra… (One of my goals is to move away from self depreciating talk, so let’s rephrase my original thoughts here) challenges to add to the pile, so I feel like a burden around a place that’s already struggling greatly. I don’t want to pull down the ones I love. While I know they don’t see it that way, it’s difficult for me not to.

I have absolutely THROWN myself into DBT and CBT with everything I’ve got. We’re talking textbooks and notebooks and reminders all over the place. I am trying my best to make the skills an integral part of my life; and I must say, they’re working. They’re not necessarily making everything better, and luckily I didn’t come into it with that expectation, because that’s not what they’re supposed to do. They’re doing EXACTLY what they’re supposed to do: guide me away from making things worse for myself. 

Today, registration opened up for classes. YIPPEE! Except, my months-long, well thought out plan was blown to smithereens when I realized the college made literally last minute changes to the classes availability. So naturally, cue meltdown. But I worked through it with some skills and the assistance of my boyfriend, who is also learning the DBT skills along side me, and has become something like a coach. I’m incredibly grateful to have him to turn to during these times.

So the situation was (somewhat) resolved, for this semester, anyway. I’ll be taking one different course than I had expected, and a variant of another that I had planned to take. It looks like it’ll actually be an easier course load, but I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety over the fact that this what not what I had planned, and now I have future implications to deal with. However, I have confidence that I have skills that will help me get through the obstacles in my future. So I am a school girl again, and can’t wait to start classes in September. I’ve already ordered my books so I can get a jump start on readings. (Nerd much?)

I just feel like, I can’t say enough about how dark of a place my head keeps going to these days. Things are really stressful and it’s like I just can’t handle it so my brain is sending me to this deep dark, isolative depressive space that I don’t want to be in. I can’t get across how scared I am of just slipping into this space. I’m doing everything I can to fight against it but some days, it’s nearly impossible. My plan is to use the hell out of my skills until my head gets the idea that I will not allow myself to sink into its pit of despair and misery. I am stronger than that. 

Moving Along…An Update

Found out how much damage I did to the car. Just shy of 10 grand. TEN GRAND. That’s incredible. The entire front end of the car needs to be replaced. …Yet the airbags didn’t go off; something about that seems off to me. I’m just thankful I got to walk away, and with accident forgiveness. But, what if I needed that airbag? I really feel like it probably should have gone off and it scares me that it didn’t. 

Met with the therapist. Went a lot smoother than I expected and I’m at least kind of optimistic for where our time together will go. It’s looking like a lot of CBT, which will be new but familiar to me. A lot of work, but work I’m willing to do.

To everyone and no one who is or isn’t reading:

I GOT APPROVED FOR FUNDING FOR SCHOOL. 

Come September, I’m a student again. I’m sooooooo so so so so relieved. And excited. It was really some good news I needed right now.

But I’m also scared. It’s going to be a lot but it’s going to be topics I’m interested in. And I need it. I need it so bad; direction, identity, purpose. I’m so happy about this news that I don’t know what to do with myself.

But I’m still not feeling stable, at all. My days are really up and down and all over the place. It’s going to make it difficult to get school work done. Not impossible, but difficult, because I’m going to have to work around meltdowns and days of fog where I feel incapable. But it’s not impossible. I can do this. 

A bazillion things are going on and Ahhhhh

I don’t even know where to start.

Yes I do.

I smooshed my mom’s new car. And it’s my fault. It was my boyfriend and myself in the car and we are okay, nothing broken or anything, just some serious muscle pain and stiffness, but I could, and probably will, write a whole post about the anxiety going on related to this. I don’t know if I’m going to be charged. I’m going to have to talk to the insurance companies. Even though I’m the one at fault, the whole thing was and is continuing to be traumatic for me. 

Next.

I have an appointment tomorrow with my support therapist. It will be my second time meeting her and the first time was a long time ago so I’m very, very nervous. Hopeful; but very, very nervous. I’m hoping she won’t have to take a history again ’cause that’s never fun, but I’m also worried that if she doesn’t have to take a history that means we’re going to jump right into my current issues and… I don’t know where or how to start.

Neeeeext.

I’ve applied for funding for school. Full time. Which as a student with a disability means 3 courses. As long as I’m doing 1 in-class I can do the other 2 online. I worry it’ll be too much, but I want it so bad, and I’m sick of sitting around feeling worthless. I figure the worst that can happen is I crash and burn – again. I have to keep trying because being unemployed and out of school will be the death of me. I feel like I have no purpose or identity. BUUUUUUUT none of this ambition for school matters if I can’t get approved for funding. Which I should. Maybe. Hopefully. 4-6 week waiting period to find out – that’s a lot of pacing and wringing my hands. Then once I do(hopefully!) get approved, I’ll need to deal with all the anxiety related to going to class and meeting deadlines and staying focused.

Next.

There’s been a lot of tension around the house. My father is sick and needing a lot of help. My niece is struggling behaviourally which is always like a mystery that needs to be solved within our family. My sister is constantly in pain, and even still has picked up much of the slack left by my mental health flinking for months now. Mom’s got all kinds of injuries she likes to pretend she doesn’t, and is the only working member of the household. Everyone is stressed and it’s no wonder there’s been miscommunications galore, but it hurts that I just can’t seem to connect with my family. Especially when I go a long time feeling distant from my mother. It’s bringing up a lot of feelings of incompetency, unworthiness and self-hatred, all of which I need to learn to deal with, which leads me to…

NEXT.

I’m attending weekly DBT classes again. I’m trying so hard to really invest a lot of my time and energy into practicing and working the skills, focussing on applying them to my everyday life, so that they come to play easier in times of crisis. Times like now.

I’ve just…. I’ve really hit a point, where things need to start getting better because I can’t handle it if they keep getting worse. I’ve got a few ineffective coping mechanisms going on that I need to work on correcting, and I’m holding on to hope with my skills. I feel like I was out of control and I’m just starting to climb back into the driver’s seat; not quite there yet, but I’ll do it. I don’t feel out of control anymore, but I’m not moving forward yet; I’m still just getting my bearings straight. 

I’m Back Peeps

After neglecting this blog for almost a year, I have returned. This is just a quick update post.

As I mentioned in my most recent entry before this one, I had been approved for funding to go back to school, and so I went. I made it through my first semester with all A’s, which is more than I can say I’ve done before, but I crashed and burned during my second. It was a major emotional let down for me, and I’m still in the middle of recovering from it. I’ve kind of been mostly avoiding even thinking about school since then. 

In other news, I’m starting to come to an understanding of who I feel I am. Not sure I can put that into words just yet, but I’m starting to learn what my core values are. 

One of my best friendships of over ten years has blossomed into a romantic relationship which I feel has been very encouraging and helpful for me. I think he’s good for me. 

I’m still living at home with my family, which is the cause of some minor tension for me, but it’s also what’s helping to keep me sane most of the time. I’m still unemployed and receiving disability allowance. At this point I’m still scared to consider school, but it’s not the same kind of completely-unwilling-to-discuss-it mindset. I’m actually starting to get curious about whether or not I’d be able to focus if it were just one course and it was online.

I spend a lot of time with my best friend from middle school and her son, my godson. She’s having a rough time right now, and just as she would be for me, I am there for her to help support her as much as I can, though it is taking a heavy toll on me some days.

I’m also back in DBT therapy, which I am very thankful for. My psychiatrist and another worker are advocating for more services that they feel I need which I am currently being denied. I am incredibly frustrated and feel like I am being let down by the system.

So, there’s an update; where I am now; just sort of…flinking, I suppose. Existing. 

I’m hoping getting back to writing will help get me out of my head again. It’s already a relief to see it flowing out onto the page. Writing is particularly healing for me so I don’t understand why I don’t do it more. 

Expect to be seeing more of me again.

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